“Zubaan mili hai magar humzubaan nahi milta” 

The other day, I came across this couplet while reading about a theatre performance in Urdu. For many of us, it rings painfully true, on so many occasions in life. I think it is a beautiful couplet which culminates our bittersweet experiences into a single-line poetic phrase. After all, we all go through those irritable moments when we feel “nobody understands us”. It might be the differences in outlook, differences in perception, or a difference of opinion, but the truth is that we feel utterly misunderstood. Some of us feel that way more often than not. And that’s when we want to give up. We feel as though we just cannot survive in a place where everyone is somehow trying simply ‘fit in’. Yes, we ‘fit in’ without really fitting in. And then we are curious to the point of asking ourselves, “Am I an alien? ‘Cause I definitely do not feel like one of those around me”. It’s hard to explain that you don’t want to explain all the time. It’s hard to tell people that “You just don’t get me, my dear”. It’s exhausting to merely think about telling them that the way they interpret something ‘we’ say has to be ‘our’ way, not ‘their’ way. It makes you go “aaaargh”. You suddenly start dreading the future that anyway seems bleak, and it appears bleaker when you realise you might have to shift to another occupation should it not work out because you might get fired for thinking ‘weirdly’ (differently?) Keep a hobby handy, my misunderstood folks. The ‘real’ world is too uptight to accommodate us. Even thought I like the sound of it, the word ‘monochrome’ was perhaps invented by those who just cannot tolerate the presence of different hues.

A monologue that we quite frequently practice with inconsistent intensity in our minds goes as follows: “Honestly, just because we can see multiple perspectives does not mean we’re indecisive. We were just trying to ‘understand’ you and them. What about the decision we helped you with, and why were you even asking us in the first place? If we can be gentle with you, I don’t think you should be so harsh with us. I know it sounds irrational right now, but don’t you realise that it’s just one of those rare days when we feel miserable because it seems like a waste of time trying to uplift our moods, when it just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere? I know it still sounds stupid to you. I would have told you the same if I was in your place. Exactly. Anyway, I’m afraid there will be days when you’ll think you have us figured out in front of you, and then we’ll surprise you out of the blue. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you adjudge us being inconstant. Because the truth is that you liked that surprise we gave you. And let me tell you, we get hurt when some of you are insensitively honest about wanting us to throw away some of our precious thoughts that clearly seem nonsensical to you.”

The biggest rebels on the face of this earth are the authors, in my view. And I am referring to authors with evolved thought processes. I want to include many an artist, many a visionary, idiot, ‘nincompoop’, ‘crazy’, ‘psycho’, ‘stupid’ and ‘weirdo’ in the group, but authors top my list. I think we should pick up a book whenever that moment arrives when we have energy only to sigh. That’s the best way to refrain from straining our interpersonal relationships, when we ourselves need a reality check. More than that, we need peace and solitude. ‘Cause we anyway feel like we want to get away after embracing the  harshness. And subconsciously, we shut down. Dropping things and people inside like a deadpan? Maybe, at times.

(Monologue contd.) “…^ Not because we dislike you, of course we don’t and we can’t. But because we really need space after the one-sided altercation, where we disagreed in mind and heart with nearly everything you said. Can we make a request? Please do not try to put words in our mouths. That makes us feel tired and irritated at the same time. Yes, we take our time to decide, but when we do, it is something we do not budge from. Right now, we need to sense things and gather insight into the various meanings they hold for us, because they might help us get into a frame of mind and decide for ourselves. You probably are right in assessing that we’re being slow, but that’s only because being impulsive is the worst thing we could do right now. We know we’re behaving in a peculiar fashion right now, but we turn to you to make us feel different and better. We know we’re in the mood to whine, but we turn to you to hear things we want to, that might soothe us.”

I know that most of us give up somewhere inside and that’s when we turn taciturn towards the only people we talk to. We feel as if it was a waste of time to be partly perceived as someone we’re not, and it has made the weight inside heavier than it was earlier. We feel like saying only four words, “you just won’t understand”, but we give up on that also. And that’s when we realise that our initial decision to not talk made some sense. And that’s where we come back..

Now I realise how authors are born. Some of them must feel great being misunderstood at times 😉 But that’s the source of some of the most rebellious writings in the world. That gives them freedom from the suffocation of being misunderstood. They must have felt liberated when they found a confidante in another author who understood them. They must feel elated on finally having made something out of their lives, and having accomplished something, when they get most people to agree with ‘their’ point of view by turning an author themselves. In the doldrums created by hopelessness, despair, apathy, melancholy and wistfulness are born some of the greatest stories of the ‘real’ world. If we can accept and even relate to their stories, I think it only makes sense to accept them too. They’re not aliens, for they write in a language that we comprehend-the language of understanding, the language of insightfulness..Perhaps they’ll understand you the best when you feel like a part of that 1 percent population that apparently is repulsive, or when you feel like one of those who are judged on a set of predefined parameters, and the list won’t necessarily be exhaustive. Need some validation or self-esteem? Know which book to consult, folks 🙂

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